This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page will answer many of the questions that we’re regularly asked about Fanderson and the way in which the club operates. With one notable exception this page isn’t designed to answer questions about the Gerry Anderson productions, as you’ll find answers to many of those questions on our “Productions” pages.
So, firstly, our most received question: What does 'FAB' stand for?
Nothing! Despite appearances, as used by International Rescue in Thunderbirds 'FAB' is not an acronym – it’s simply a call sign like 'Roger' or 'Ten-Four' to acknowledge received instructions. In the 1960s, when Thunderbirds was in production, the term 'fab' was in common parlance as a shortened form of 'fabulous' which, of course, everything was. The phrase has enjoyed resurgence in recent years and 'FAB' itself entered the English dictionary in 2002: "'FAB interjection British informal an expression of agreement to, or acknowledgement of, a command [from British television series, Thunderbirds]." - Collins Dictionary (2002).
What is Fanderson?
Fanderson is a club for fans of all Gerry Anderson television and film productions worldwide. It was formed in 1981 at the request of ITC Entertainment who wanted to assist and support one single fan body for all of the Gerry Anderson productions to which it owned the copyright. The club is based in the UK and organised by a small unpaid committee of longtime Gerry Anderson fans.
What was Fanderson's relationship with Gerry Anderson?
Gerry was our club President until his death in 2012. He took an active interest in everything we do, regularly contributed to the club magazine by providing information about his latest projects and answering members’ questions, and always found time in his busy schedule to offer assistance as required. However, he entrusted all decision-making about the organisation of the club, its merchandise and events, to the members of the committee.
What is Fanderson's relationship with ITV Studios Global Entertainment?
The licensing and development rights to the properties in the ITC Entertainment library of films and television programmes are now owned by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which recognises Fanderson as the only official appreciation society for Gerry Anderson's work. This special relationship gives us access to the ITC library of photographs and other materials, and free licence to produce merchandise based on the television series produced by Gerry for ITC between 1960 and 1976. In return Fanderson provides ITV with an information resource, consultation service and assistance to their commercial merchandise licensees, should they require it.
However, ITV doesn’t endorse or support any fan clubs or appreciation societies. Fanderson's status as the official Gerry Anderson appreciation society is provided by Anderson Entertainment and Gerry’s family. ITC Entertainment authorises Fanderson's status as the only officially-recognised appreciation society for the television series on which they retain the copyright: Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, Joe 90, The Secret Service, UFO, The Protectors and Space:1999. Despite the club's relationship with ITV, ITC, Anderson Entertainment and other copyright holders Fanderson is independent of any company or individual.
Who runs Fanderson?
The club committee is formed of club members who offer their services. Committee positions are unpaid and duties are performed in members’ free time. Committee service continues until an individual decides to 'retire' or is dismissed for acting against the best interests of the club. Vacant committee posts are advertised in FAB magazine, and in the past positions have come about from members suggesting roles to improve the running of the club.
Do you have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where I can put questions to the committee?
No. AGMs in the early days of the club were very costly affairs for the one or two members who turned up and it was agreed that the club funds that could be put to better use improving the quality of the club magazine, items of merchandise, etc. As a result, we no longer hold AGMs but members can always put questions to the committee by writing to/e-mailing us, or starting a thread on the Interface section of the Fanderson Forum. Conventions also provide an excellent opportunity to talk with committee members.
Why don't you publish club accounts?
Whilst accounts used to be published within the club newsletter, member feedback has made it clear that the majority prefer the pages of the magazine to be filled with interviews, articles, photos, etc, rather than the details of club business. The club’s financial status is reviewed at every committee meeting and the current status is available free of charge to any member who sends a stamped addressed envelope to the Club Secretary's address.
Why do I have to join Fanderson to buy your merchandise?
1) As a club, UK tax laws exempt us from paying income tax if we only sell merchandise to our members. To do otherwise would mean we’d have to pay tax and add this to the selling price of our merchandise, making everything more expensive.
2) Our relationship with the copyright holders of the various Anderson productions means that Fanderson is allowed to produce limited edition merchandise without purchasing the merchandise licences that other manufacturers must buy in order to produce Gerry Anderson products. However, this arrangement is on the strict understanding that Fanderson only allows its products to be sold to club members. The alternative of buying a merchandise licence would inflate the production costs beyond what most members could afford - based on the limited quantities that Fanderson produce (commercial manufacturers are able to spread the cost of the licence fee over the production of a much larger number of items, anything from 10 to 50 times the number of units that Fanderson produces).
3) The club's status, combined with the factors above, enables us to invest in items of merchandise that would be too risky for a commercial operation. Many of the items in the Fanderson Sales catalogue would be financially unviable to commercial merchandisers based on the relatively small quantites that they could expect to sell.
4) As with any club, to give like-minded people the opportunity to meet and have access to products and services that are not available to the general public.
Why don’t you introduce a two-tier pricing system, with a premium for non-members who want to buy your merchandise?
OK, think of the membership fee as that premium, which also gives you access to the full range of club services and products. Just let us know if you don’t want to be sent your membership pack and FAB magazines and we’ll invest your membership fee in services and merchandise instead.
Why are some of your items of merchandise more expensive than similar items that I can buy in shops?
Even without the cost of a merchandising license, our limited production quantities mean that our unit costs are sometimes higher than they would be on comparable commercially-produced items. Taking Fanderson's soundtrack CDs as an example, there are many factors that contribute to the production cost such as engineering, editing and digital remastering, the hire of recording studio facilities, the manufacturing of glass masters, duplication and on-body print, packaging reprographics and print, composer royalties, musicians' royalties, and so on. If these production costs amount to, say, £16,000 then Fanderson's unit cost is £16 each based on the production of 1000 units - the quantity that the club might reasonably expect to sell. By contrast, if a commercial manufacturer expects to sell 5,000 copies of a comparable CD his unit cost is reduced to around just £3.20 each, onto which he can add a considerable profit.
I don't live in the UK. Can I still join the club?
Yes, of course! About a quarter of our members live outside the UK. You will find full details of membership rates and how to pay on the membership form/website. Just add to the membership fee the postage for the part of the world in which you live.
Can I order merchandise at the same time as applying for membership?
Yes. Just add your membership to your cart whilst shopping online and you’ll be charged for your complete transaction. Note, however, that Memberships and Sales are separate operations, located in different parts of the UK. We’ll always complete your membership application before fulfilling your order, which means your merchandise may take a few weeks to be delivered.
Why do you have so many different addresses? Can I send mail to just one?
The Fanderson committee members live at different locations across the UK, so sending your mail to the right address (as detailed on our forms and in FAB magazine) means you’ll get a much quicker response. Our PO Box is really for ‘first contact’ queries or for submitting letters and articles to FAB magazine. Of course, mail sent to any of our addresses will get forwarded to the right people, it might just take a little time.
How can I pay for my membership?
We accept payment in Pounds Sterling only, and you can pay by cheque (with a UK bank sort code), UK postal order, most major credit and debit cards and PayPal if you use our online option. Full details are on every membership form and our website. If you pay by card we will charge you in Pounds Sterling, and your card company/bank will do the conversion and charge you in your local currency. So that you can check the amount that you’ve been charged your card statement will usually show both currencies.
How do I raise a Sterling money order?
Most banks throughout the world can exchange your local currency into Pounds Sterling, although there is often a charge to you for doing this. A much more economical way is to pay by credit or debit card.
When is my membership due for renewal?
Your welcome letter tells you when your membership expires initially, and the mailing label on your FAB envelopes always carry this detail. You will also be sent a renewal form with the last FAB issue of your current membership.
When is the next issue of FAB magazine due to be published?
FAB is published every four months. Each issue gives the month that the next FA is due and we’ll let everyone know on our website when we know the latest issue has started landing in members’ homes.
Can you tell me when (insert programme title) is to be broadcast on TV?
If Fanderson is provided with broadcast details in advance of transmission, those details will be posted on the News page of our website. Alternatively, viewers based in the UK can visit the BBC's Radio Times website to search for details of forthcoming broadcasts.
Can you tell me when (insert programme title) is to be released on DVD or Blu-ray Disc?
If Fanderson is provided with release information in advance of the release date, those details will be posted on the News page of our website. Alternatively, a search on Amazon will usually reveal any forthcoming releases.
Can I buy (insert programme title) on DVD from you?
The full range of Fanderson merchandise is on the Fanderson Sales pages of our website and the latest catalogue is sent to all members with each copy of FAB magazine. We cannot supply any items that are not listed in the catalogue. However, there are plenty of sites on the internet where Gerry Anderson DVDs can be purchased on-line: try Play, Amazon or Star Trader.
I've got a rare piece of 1960s merchandise. Can you tell me how much it's worth?
Sorry, but we don’t offer a valuation service. However, where appropriate, we can put you in touch with professional auction houses that have greater expertise in the current value.
Can I get autographs from the various people involved in making my favourite programmes?
Sorry, but we don’t offer an autograph service. However, our convention guests are more than happy to provide sign autographs for delegates.
How do you decide what merchandise to produce?
Members’ suggestions, including the information about their preferred productions helps us to target our efforts towards the most popular shows, although we aim to cover all of them to some degree. Many of our items have either been suggested by our members, or in some cases (such as with mini-models) actually produced by our talented members.
Can I play your DVDs outside the UK?
Yes, we want everyone to enjoy our programmes. In fact, Fanderson's first DVD release, The Day After Tomorrow/Space Police, was the world's first internationally compatible disc, with PAL on one side and NTSC on the other.
When and where is your next event or convention?
Expect The Unexpected is our Terrahawks 30th anniversary celebration, to be held on Saturday 12th October at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead. We’re also making tentative plans for a major convention in 2015 to celebrate Thunderbirds’ 50th anniversary.
Last edited by Derek Eaton; 31st July 2013 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Time distortion